Commissioner Larry Hacker explains County Roads

Let’s talk “COUNTY ROADS” ….
We can all relate to potholes, mud puddles, and rough roads, but there’s MANY MORE details “behind the scenes” than most folks realize.
Recently, during this campaign and upcoming election, there’s some talk about “fixing County roads” and “regular maintenance schedules”. Mr. Hacker hopes this information will help clear up, explain, and provide the real facts for all to make a good decision at the polls.
First of all, Bates County is one of the LARGEST counties in the state when it comes to total miles of County roadways with just under 1,000 miles of dirt and gravel roads.
Secondly, Bates County is a “Township County” meaning that our residents live in districts, within the County, called Townships. The residents of that Township elect a board to handle maintenance of the roads within that Township, and to decide when, where, and how much rock or maintenance is needed on any given road within that Township. These good folks known as “Township board members” have a tough, thankless job, but have agreed to serve their neighbors in this role.

The Township receives money from Road Tax levies (voted in by their Township’s citizens), and CART funds (which is provided back to the County from a formula of Missouri gas tax, motor vehicle fees, and automobile sales/use tax revenues) from the County. With these revenue streams, THE TOWNSHIP BOARD CONTROLS which road, what repair, and even how much rock goes on that road. The County Commission does not decide or oversee the maintenance.
Third, the Commission does oversee the Bates County Road and Bridge Department who installs all road culverts, contracts out construction of any concrete box culverts (which are inspected by MoDOT), mows approximately 1,500 miles of road right-of-way annually, makes and installs all County road signs, and does a variety of other road related jobs, other than MAINTENANCE of the roadways.
County Aid Road Trust (CART) Funds, CART Funds, are apportioned to counties on the basis of two factors: one-half of the funds are credited to the county based on the ratio that its road mileage bears to the total county road mileage in the unincorporated areas of the state, and one-half is credited to the county based on the ratio that its rural land valuation bears to the rural land valuation of the entire state. A factor for each County is derived by the State and that factor, multiplied by the TOTAL revenue (from gas tax, motor vehicle fees, and automobile sales/use tax), becomes what the State gives the County for CART funds annually.
As a Commissioner, there’s MUCH MORE than “roads” to deal with, from budgets, bonding issues, personnel, insurance, County facilities, economic development, compliances, and a host of other issues. I hope you will consider ALL the functions when you elect the Commissioner to represent YOU and Bates County. I look forward to serving you and Bates County with a total commitment of my efforts.
I hope this information helps clear up and explain the actual workings of County roads and their maintenance so you are better informed of WHO controls your County road-related issues. Feel free to contact Larry Hacker or either of the other two Commissioners if you have specific questions.
Information provided by Larry Hacker.